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Month: January 2009

That’s me as a vampire?

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I followed "The Wish," as I often do, with "Doppelgangland".
This episode is from later in season three, and it’s a direct follow-up to "The
Wish." We meet Anya the (ex) vengeance demon again, and, oh yeah, Evil
Vampire Willow makes another appearance. In fact, she gets a lot more screen
time here.

This episode was written and directed by Joss Whedon, so I could be cynical
and accuse him of just wanting to make Alyson Hannigan put on that leather corset
again. But, that’s okay, since all the fans of the show wanted to see
Alyson Hannigan in that leather corset again. And more, we get to see both Evil
Vampire Willow rocking that corset like nobody’s business, and Regular Willow
sort of awkward and cutely uncomfortable in it.

The Wish is one of very few Buffy episodes that I think is primarily horror,
"Doppelgangland" is one of a handful that is mostly comedy. The title,
for those of you low on German or poncey literary obscurities, refers to the
German concept of the doppelgänger,
or double-goer, a kind of shadow self that looks just like you. Season three
has an overall shadow-self theme with Buffy and bad-slayer Faith, so this episode
ties in nicely.

Continue reading That’s me as a vampire?

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Yes, I hate jeans

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I wanted to follow up my somewhat controversial anti-cake position with what I imagine is an even more controversial opinion: I hate jeans. I do not wear them. Ever.

I wore jeans like everybody else until I had an epiphany somewhere in the middle of college — I realized that, while the word “comfortable” had been applied to jeans my whole life, that *jeans are not actually comfortable at all.*

They are made of stiff and very heavy fabric, which means thick seams anyway, and they usually emphasize this with double-folded seams and rivets and things. So everywhere you’re sitting or leaning against one of those monster seams, it’s digging in hard. Jeans also bunch up at the back of the knees when I sit cross-legged or Japanese-style.

Jean fabric is not very insulating in cold weather, and not very breathable in hot. And when it gets wet it stays wet for a loooong time.

To look good jeans have to be relatively form-fitting, which means the chore of finding jeans that fit right. And once they are tailored like that, they do not allow for a complete range of waist and knee motion. I mean, can people do yoga in jeans? That’s what I’m talking about.

Also, jeans wear out at the butt and knees pretty rapidly. So, even though the fabric gives the appearance of being “tough,” jeans don’t last all that long.

I wear skirts. Yes, skirts. Continue reading Yes, I hate jeans

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Fairies in the corner: a narrative of the Bush years

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George W. Bush is now gone. He is no longer the president. He is an ex-president.

Even his dwindling hardcore base doesn’t seem terribly sad to see him go, really.
Maybe they’re getting tired of defending him, weary of the increasingly elaborate
and strenuous mental gymnastics it takes to explain how the manifestly obvious
screwed-uppedness of our country is actually Clinton’s fault.

People are talking about the "Bush Legacy," by which they mean the Bush Narrative — you know, the shorthand view of him and his presidency that even people who never crack open a history text will pick up through a kind of cultural osmosis.

Will he forever be known as "the hero who kept us safe from terrorists
after 9/11?" Or will he be cast as "the bungler who let 9/11 happen?"
Will he be remembered for doing the best anyone could have done under the circumstances,
a victim of bad luck which was entirely not his fault? Or will he be remembered
as, simply, the worst president we’ve ever had? This battle isn’t over just
because he’s leaving office. In fact, it’s only beginning. No matter what people
in general think of him now, in five years, ten, twenty, fifty, a hundred, a
thousand — there will be people debating it, changing it, fighting over it.

Look at Nixon. Bush leaves office with the highest disapproval rating of any president since Nixon. For a while, Nixon was a potent symbol of ultimate presidential malfeasance, and there are certainly many who still see him that way. But over time his image softened, until the general consensus seemed to be "Eh, Nixon wasn’t so bad."

Continue reading Fairies in the corner: a narrative of the Bush years

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Zombie Strippers

Saw this over the weekend. It’s excellent at being exactly the movie it intends to be, and exactly the movie you want when you watch a low budget horror comedy called Zombie Strippers. Plenty of zombies. Plenty of strippers. And plenty of zombie strippers. It’s ninety minutes long, and there’s lots of disgusting zombie effects and ass-kicking. Joe Bob says check it out. It’s main flaw is that it isn’t any better than the kind of movie you want when you watch a low budget horror comedy called Zombie Strippers. The dialog is too self-consciously precious at times, especially toward…

Continue reading Zombie Strippers

The Fruit Crusade

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So, the PI had this article about a woman
who gave up refined sugar for a year
. The thing that amazed and annoyed me
about this article was the way giving up sugar was treated as being such a big
deal. You know, a "test of willpower," a "reflection on the impossible."

The article is full of anecdotes about how hard it all was, how she
huffed doughnut smell and ran around like a maniac and felt empty and lost when
other people ate dessert and envious when people ate holiday-related sugars.
And then at some point she makes honey-only toffee and pigs out on it, and somehow
that isn’t a break from the no-sugar rule, even though she feels terrible afterward,
so whatever.

The article has a smug tone that gets on my nerves, but the kicker is that,
by the standards of this article, I haven’t eaten any sugar for almost twenty
years. And you don’t see me sending press releases to the PI. But then,
I didn’t give up sugar as part of a decision to "’create a simpler life,’
leave their jobs and spend several months helping others." I stopped eating
sugar because it makes me feel like crap.

Continue reading The Fruit Crusade

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This is the world we made

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Last night’s make-dishes-tolerable randomly-selected entertainment was season
three Buffy episode "The Wish." It remains one of my favorites. It
has a solid story, fascinating alt-world building, fabulous new characters,
a devastating emotional punch, and is one of very few Buffy episodes
to actually be, mostly, a horror story.

Maybe I should explain. Obviously Buffy is built out of horror tropes
— vampires, werewolves, zombies, and demons and monsters of every conceivable
variety. The stories tend to have a high body count, and a surprising amount
of blood, guts and goo for network television.

Buffy is horror genre, no question. But genre is as much about milieu as it
is about story. (Which is an argument I pull out whenever people try to claim
that Star Trek isn’t really science fiction.) And genre is about approach
and desired emotional affect as much as about story.

Which, this came up as a rant about the Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror
X", part of our newly purchased season 11, when I couldn’t stop throwing a tantrum
about how segment two, where Bart and Lisa get superpowers, isn’t horror.
It was more than just "superheroes aren’t horror." Superheroes can be horror.
Anything can be scary. But, you have to commit. You have to be horror.

Continue reading This is the world we made

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